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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

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Meet Ingrid. She works on a gargantuan luxury cruise liner, where she spends her days reorganizing the merchandise and waiting for long-term guests to drop dead in the changing rooms. On her days off, she disembarks from the ship and gets blind drunk on whatever the local alcohol is. It's not a bad life. And it distracts her from thinking about the other life she left behind five years ago. Vivid and compulsive . . . an addictive and intriguingly dark (if not profound) take on an ancient narrative.” - The New Statesman

As its title suggests, Lara Williams’s The Odyssey is about a journey. Ingrid works on a cruise ship that crisscrosses the globe. The ship, the WA, is as large as some towns and comes complete with acres of swimming pools, restaurants and gift shops where long-term guests have an inconvenient habit of dying. It is a book that demands of the reader just as much as it rewards them with. All of the characters were so unique, interesting and flawed that I would have liked to have known a bit more about them. It felt like they floated in and out of the novel and could disappear at any time, perhaps onto land without a real explanation of why they were on the boat on the first place, why they left and where they went. And while Ingrid is British, she uses a lot of Americanisms (i.e., “apartment”, “garbage can”), which is confusing as the reader tries to piece together her character. A Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by The Millions • A Best Book to Read in April by Town & Country and The AV Club • One of 2022’s Best Beach Reads by Southern Living Supper Club will speak to parts of you that you didn’t know were yearning. A thought-provoking read that will make you hungry for Roberta’s cooking and more of Williams’ insights on women at crossroads.”—Refinery29So, there is this brand of fiction: "I'm disenfranchised and miserable and self-destructive; and join me for awhile and then I'll reveal my inciting incident and you can empathize with me." And, I'm not not here for that. I'm not an entirely unsympathetic human and I have the occasional millennial (Though let's not pretend for a second that this gen invented the trope, okay???) self-pitying instinct, so you know, I get the brand.

From the prize-winning author of Supper Club—a debut novel that Vogue called “ Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter meets Donna Tartt’s The Secret History“—comes The Odyssey, a fresh twist on the epic journey and an unapologetic takedown of capitalism and “lifestyle” that will appeal to fans of Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh (Molly Young, The New York Times) Read if you like: Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, artificial flavors, avoidant behavior, wondering what a ‘lifestyle’ is and whether you have one.” - Molly Young, The New York Times

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Tantalizing . . . Readers who enjoy Melissa Broder and Ottessa Moshfegh will appreciate this surreal trip through a troubled woman’s psyche.” - Booklist It's difficult to say much about this book without veering into interpretation that gives away more than I'd have wanted to know before reading this, and I'm actually still unsure about how secure my reading of the book is. So I'll just say that this is weirdly compulsive and enigmatic and yet a bit ploddy at the same time. That is, until the day she is selected by the ship's enigmatic captain and (ill-informed) wabi sabi devotee, Keith, for his mentorship program. Encouraging her to reflect on past mistakes and her desperation to remain lost at sea, Keith pushes Ingrid further than she ever thought possible. But as her friendships and professional life onboard steadily fall apart, Ingrid must ask herself: how do you know when you have gone too far? This was fantastic! The Odyssey is darkly funny and thought-provoking. Although I enjoyed the premise of Supper Club, I felt like Lara Williams linged on the surface. With The Odyssey, Lara Williams commits completely, this novel feels more direct and purposeful.

In New York City during the Great Depression, an unnamed male narrator responds to letters for his advice column, which he writes under the pen name “Miss Lonelyhearts”, in perhaps the ultimate book about a terrible job. Growing increasingly despondent and burdened by the miserable New Yorkers seeking his advice, Miss Lonelyhearts searches for ways to escape – through alcohol and religion to name a couple – as he barrels towards a full-blown existential crisis. A gorgeously written and pleasingly short and sharp satire. One thing I was disappointed by was the fact that the cruise ship setting isn't really explored as much as you might expect, especially not as things start to turn weird and twisted. I would've liked more of it, whether the Japanese obsession of the captain or what was going on with some of the other employees Ingrid knows, as it is a distinctive and unusual setting for literary fiction.This book is bizarre and slightly confusing and dark at times, with a pretty unlikeable narrator and unlikeable characters, and I enjoyed reading it so much. I especially liked the way the narrator Ingrid would talk about her past while I as the reader had to kind of piece together what was missing, and I enjoyed how non-chalant the narrator was about some things that happened that she shouldn't have been non-chalant about. Peculiarly uplifting … 1946 illustration of a scene from The Diary of a Nobody. Illustration: Culture Club/Getty Images



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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